Norway awards license for newly opened Barents Sea southeast

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has awarded 10 licenses consisting of 40 blocks on Norwegian continental shelf. Three of the licenses are in the Barents Sea southeast, outside the county of Finnmark. In all, 13 companies are offered participating interest.

Minister Tord Lien referred to the licensing round as an “historic new chapter” in Norway’s petroleum industry as the round marks the first time the country has offered new acreage in 20 years.

The Barents Sea southeast became a part of the Norwegian continental shelf after the Treaty on Maritime Delimitation and Cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean between Russia and Norway entered into force on July 7, 2011. The Norwegian Parliament opened the area to petroleum activity in 2013 (OGJ Online, Aug. 5, 2013).

While the southeast portion is new to exploration, Norway has been active in the Barents Sea since 1980. The first Barents Sea oil development, Goliat field, started production this year (OGJ Online, Mar. 14, 2016). Barents Sea discoveries account for 49 of 130 wells drilled in the region. New field developments, which drew bids from several operators in nearby blocks, include Johan Castberg, Wisting, and Alta-Gotha.

The awards provide 13 companies is participating interest, of these five were awarded operatorship. The Norwegian government announced the 23rd licensing round on Jan. 20, 2015. In February, analyst group StrategicFit cited that long lead times for Barents Sea exploration and development would attract operators even in a low price environment (OGJ Online, Feb. 1, 2016).

Companies awarded include:

• Capricorn Norge AS, 3 licenses, 1 operatorship.

• Centrica Resources (Norge) AS, 1 license, 1 operatorship.

• Chevron Norge AS, 1 license.

• ConocoPhillips Skandinavia AS, 1 license.

• DEA Norge AS, 2 licenses.

• Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA, 3 licenses, 1 operatorship.

• Idemitsu Petroleum Norge AS, 2 licenses.

• Lukoil Overseas North Shelf AS, 1 license.

• Lundin Norway AS, 5 licenses, 3 operatorships.

• OMV (Norge) AS, 1 license.

• PGNiG Upstream International AS, 1 license.

• Statoil Petroleum AS, 5 licenses, 4 operatorships.

• Tullow Oil Norge AS, 1 license.

The Barents Sea is characterized by low exploration maturity with a high resource potential. Operators have discovered 3.3 billion boe in the Barents Sea since exploration began, and the region has an estimated undiscovered potential of 7.6 billion boe. About 5 billion boe is expected to gas and condensate.

Contact Tayvis Dunnahoe at tayvisd@ogjonline.com.

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